Thoughts

How to Adore Mondays

“It’s Monday again”, “Well, it’s Monday”, “How are you?” – “It’s Monday.” The latter is a response I get pretty often in Germany. In the meantime, I’ve become increasingly attached to Mondays, especially since I’ve finished school, then later on university and became increasingly independent in the years that followed. Here’s why.

Mondays are like small New Year’s Days that happen every single week. No matter what happened before, you can always decide this is your fresh start right now. Or you don’t decide anything, just go out into a new week, because you never know what nice things might happen. I’d say there’s enough people and media currently telling us about the bad things that might happen, so no harm in making mental room for the opposite.

Supermarkets are usually less crowded, bordering on peaceful, because the majority of your neighborhood is still stocked up on groceries from their Friday and Saturday shopping sessions. It’s nice to stop by after work and just get a few more things for some cooking at home. While wearing a mask has become more automatic these days, it still makes for more efficient planning and shopping, because browsing does make for a sweaty face. So there you have it, a nice, quick Monday supermarket trip.

Even if it feels like you messed up the day or something happened to make it go differently than you wished, there’s still enough left of the week to do better. Or to forget what happened. There’s still enough time to get a project done, come up with a good idea, hide under the blanket for a while, figure out birthday presents. One bad Monday doesn’t a whole week make.

Monday definitely gets a lot of attention. It also sometimes sounds like there is no other option but to be displeased with Mondays, sometimes just because it’s the day that directly follows a weekend, which was, of course, too short and went by too quickly.

The truth is that Mondays can be as different as any other day of the week, depending on what happened the day before, what happened that morning, what’s happening right now, what a person is going through or how long the to-do list is. The day of the week doesn’t even matter that much, because, surprise, surprise, weekends might just as easily turn into a busy, even challenging time with little or no rest, just as a weekday may suddenly be relaxed. Maybe if a Monday feels adores, it’ll adore you right back.

 

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Thoughts

Things Siberians Say to Other People When They Don’t Live in Siberia

(We don’t have to say it in Siberia, because, attention, everyone knows their stuff.)

Let’s be fair, it goes both ways. Things are said to us as soon as we say where we’re from, we say something in return, but we also transfer our Siberian ways to our conversations without needing prompts from others after we reveal our roots.

Actually, the cold bothered and bothers me personally quite a bit, but that’s another story.

Things we might say to you

“I love summer! What heat wave?”

“It’s so nice to sit on the grass! No ticks!”

“I don’t need to go on a ski holiday, I’ve seen enough snow in my time.”

“Let’s just sit together for a little while.”

“No, I’m not cold” / “No, it’s not that cold”/ “Wow, snow, finally!” (I don’t say this, but it’s a matter of preference)

“My bike is locked up, there’s ice on the road. Yes, it can be dangerous to cycle on ice.”

“Well, it’s a good idea to wear a hat when it’s below zero outside.”

“I’m quite used to the forest, there was a lot of it where I grew up.”

“Yes, I have worn a fur coat before. Real fur.”

“Do you know pelmeni? No, they aren’t completely the same as pierogi.”

To guests: “Would you like some house slippers or warm socks?”

My personal favorite: “Actually, I don’t know anything about vodka.”

“I could see my breath this morning, it’s cold.”

“Don’t you have gloves with you?”

Almost said many times: “Is hunching into your scarf really all that helpful in staying warm?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts

Tried and Tested Tips for Staying Sane

Because we all need them sometimes and the more information is out there, the better…

Watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory and regularly observe people tell/ ask/ shout at Sheldon that he’s acting or sounds like a crazy person. It’ll put things into perspective. Although, as we all know know, he’s not crazy, his mother had him tested. Plus he’s very keen on hygiene, which is, of course, an inspiration to us all in these times in particular, though I’d still like to think certain standards should always be in place and I don’t wish good things on the person I know left the bathroom at one of my jobs without washing her hands. Off topic, but important to note.

Sarcasm is a fine art worth mastering and it usually helps in any situation, because it takes your mind off the immediateness of it, though there’s a huge difference between being sarcastic and being mean (which is obviously a topic for a whole other blog post). Being sarcastic, when done skillfully, benefits from a connection to humor, which always makes anything better, even if you’re just saying things to yourself (that’s not crazy).

It’s true, breathing helps. So go for it! No paper bags necessary, though I guess that’s a matter of preference. If you’re not sure which technique to pursue, the internet will help.

This is all just material for future novel(s). It’s being given to us, free of charge. All we have to do is absorb, like a sponge. We’re artists in training, creative souls, travelers on the highway of the universe and surely the only reason we have to listen to/ look at/ are currently witnesses to this crap is because it might get some laughs written down.

If all else fails, just laugh at it all. But not in a way that will make people think you are crazy.

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Thoughts

Things You Say as a Middle Child

Some of you have probably been here…

I’ve touched on this subject before. I’ve been fascinated by the term ever since I came across it as an actual child, as well as by observations and studies on how birth order in families with siblings might influence the shape and course of our lives, character traits, social interactions. It’s not all black and white, though. Just because you were born the youngest doesn’t mean you can’t have leadership skills, same as being the oldest doesn’t set you up as domineering.

Plenty of people will think or even tell you to your face that being a middle child is nothing special (speaking from experience). But we all know the truth, don’t we? And then we say things like…

To be fair

Disclaimer/

Before I continue

I would like to point out

Just to conclude a thought

It’s possible

You might remember/

Maybe

On the one hand

On the other hand

Well

It’s just my opinion, but

I don’t mind either way

I’m OK with both

I haven’t really thought about this

I don’t have enough information

Is everyone comfortable?

Do you have time/ Do you have a minute/ Am I interrupting/ I can call you later

It’s OK, I can wait

No, you go first

Hmm, I can’t pick just one, but maybe we can do something with both…

Growing up, Charmed (the one from 1998) was one of my favorite shows. Sure, it was about witches, which (ha) added to the excitement, but it was also about three sisters, something I immediately related to. Piper Halliwell was my favorite sister from the beginning, though I loved the other two for various reasons. But, you see, Piper was the middle sister, like me, a fact that was mentioned on the show often enough and I was thrilled, as any kid would be, to have a fictional figure to look at. The interesting thing is, spoiler alert, that while Piper’s family life changed quite a bit, she retained her middle sister characteristics throughout the show.

Once a middle child, always a middle child…

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Thoughts

Hamburg in the Time of Corona: Diary Note #2

“Get out of your comfort zone! Do something this weekend that you’re too lazy to do or that you don’t trust yourself to do.” This was the energetic suggestion, in German, on the tear-off calendar a lovely friend gave me. The thing has 365 ideas for 2020. Since March, I’ve smiled at some of them, sighed wistfully at others and filed away a few in hopes of a future where it might be possible to do more again.

I’d say we’re very fortunate in Hamburg with the freedom we do have, knock on wood, and even if it isn’t always easy, especially mentally and emotionally, I’m prepared to wait things out and follow social distancing rules if they are prolonged. Like many, I hope we won’t have to wait too long, though at the same time it’s just not possible to predict. Still, it seems a small price to pay for not only reaching a point where no new corona infections are reported, but to be able to hug loved ones.

I don’t know if the comfort zone exists any more, these days at least. But doing things I haven’t trusted myself to do for a long time? Heck yeah, where do I start? Maybe I should get on the bus again? On the subway? Push it and pass two stops instead of one? Touch a door handle with my bare hands? Stop repeating to colleagues and friends that I’ve “just washed my hands” if I give them something?

To be honest, while I’ve stopped feeling scared and exposed when going grocery shopping, the process is still plenty outside of my comfort zone, enhanced by the mask element, though I occasionally forget and just wear it on autopilot. The thing is, what I don’t trust myself to do now are things I used to do before, they just have to wait due to external circumstances. At least I don’t go, “Wow, real people!” anymore when I go outside. Progress.

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